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I think I found someone who's a bigger X Files fan than I am :) John Kenneth Muir strenuously defends the series' later seasons and second film, which critics universally panned. I personally liked the second film (Mulder and Scully in bed together!! That kiss!!!) and enjoy many episodes from the last two seasons after David Duchovny cut back on his appearances, but not many people do. Muir went over some of the better episodes from each season (it's so hard to pick, there are so many good ones) along with discussing some of the backstories and personalities involved with the show. It was great fun and I'm DEFINITELY ready for January 24th :)

Three novellas set 100 years before the events in the "Song of Ice and Fire" series, all featuring a hedge knight named Dunk and his squire, Egg. Egg is of course Aegon Targaryen, nephew to the King, but he keeps his silver and gold hair shaved off so no one can guess his true identity. Dunk and Egg have some fun adventures, coupled with beautiful illustrations, made this a nice, quick read while I wait (impatiently, I might add) for the next installment. I do hope we get more of Dunk. Later, though. Like after Ice and Fire is finished :)

I feel kind of bad, I really don't pay very good attention to these books, they're just the type that I feel I can read while watching TV or something, and as a result I'm constantly asking "wait, who is this person again?". They aren't bad, but much like the TV show I wonder why I keep up with them, since they're clearly not that engaging. Oh well. In this one, the former residents of Woodbury are hiding out in the underground tunnels when Jeremiah, the preacher from the past (no recollection of him whatsoever) returns intent on revenge. Lilly (her I remember) is hellbent on cleaning the walkers out of Woodbury so she and what's left of the residents can return. I got into it by the end, but not enough to truly care about the characters anymore.

I love Truman Capote, and this was a fun, quick read of some of his early works. They were all pretty good, considering he was in his teens and early twenties when he wrote them. I really liked one, I think it was "Kindred Spirits", about a girl who lives in her own fantasy world, imagining herself as a spy or a movie star while doing everyday mundane things. I thought "that's so me!" :)

I was a bit disappointed by John Brady's "Frank & Ava: In Love and War". I was hoping for something as brilliant as "Furious Love", about Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Of course there isn't as much to work with: Burton and Taylor were together much longer, married twice, etc., but it just felt very much like a biography of each of them that mentioned their courtship and marriage very briefly and moved on. Oh well.

Football books! Whoo hoo.
I don't like Tom Brady. I don't like Peyton Manning. I used to, until he started crushing all of my Brett's records. Jerk.
Still, Myers makes an interesting argument that neither one of them would probably be as good as they are if it hadn't been for their intense rivalry spurring them on. I can see that. I can also point out that Brett didn't need a rival to make him great :)
And Brady is a misogynistic pig. Early on in the book he's talking about a night when he and his wife Giselle were hanging out with Peyton and his wife Ashley, and Brady says they're "talking about whatever wives talk about..." and goes on to say, basically, that their lives pretty much revolve around their husbands and they have nothing else going on.
I would love to know what his supermodel wife thinks about *that*. Ashley Manning for that matter, too.
It was an interesting book all the way around and I enjoyed it.
Go Packers!! :)

I love ghost stories, and this collected edited by Audrey Niffenegger was really great. There were some old classics in here by Poe and Kipling, as well as some I'd never heard before. I really loved Neil Gaiman's "Click Clack the Rattlebag". That one was particularly brilliant.

The reviews for this book said it was like "If the Shining had been written by William Faulkner".
I liked it, I could definitely see how Gay was influenced by Faulkner (he passed away a few years ago, sadly). In "Little Sister Death", David Binder is a struggling novelist who needs to come up with a second book after the mild success of his first. He moves his pregnant wife, Corrie, and their young daughter to a haunted farm in order to investigate the claims of a ghost and see if he can get a book out of it. The farm is definitely creepy, and Corrie doesn't like it, but David thinks it's wonderful. The manuscript was discovered in Gay's papers after his death, and I can't help but feel like it wasn't quite done somehow, like he was planning on adding to it. I enjoyed it, and I want to read more of his work, I just wish there had been *a little* more to this one.

"Velva Jean Learns to Drive" by Jennifer Niven is the first of the Velva Jean series. It was nice to get some of her backstory. It starts off with her as a ten year old girl, being saved, and then her mother dies and her father runs off form home, leaving Velva Jean and her older brothers in the care of their oldest sister, Sweet Fern. Velva Jean and her brother Johnny Clay run a bit wild but they're good kids deep down. The years pass and Velva Jean dreams of singing at the Grand Ole Opry, and saves money. When she's sixteen she marries a preacher named Harley Bright. They survive some rough times together, but Velva Jean eventually starts to feel like Harley is trying to put out her light by forbidding her from learning to drive or singing. At almost nineteen, Velva Jean packs up her things and hits the road, headed for Nashville. It was nicely written, I enjoyed it, although it was a bit long.

I don't watch a lot of movies (in case you couldn't tell, I spend the majority of my free time reading) but when I do watch movies I've always liked horror movies, I just think they're fun. "Essential Horror Movies" by Michael Mallory was a nice collection of some of the best horror movies of all time, along with some interesting information about how they were made and how some of the grizzlier special effects were accomplished. It was interesting.

"Nightmares! the Sleepwalker Tonic" by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller is the sequel to the first "Nightmares" book by them, which I read and enjoyed. I liked this one, too. I was wondering how they'd write a sequel, since the first one seemed pretty final. Charlie Laird and his friends are worried about the nearby town of Orville Falls--they've recently gotten a new store that sells a Tranquility Tonic guaranteed to stop nightmares, but it looks like one of the side effects is being turned into a mindless zombie. As a result the residents aren't dreaming at all, and the nightmare and dream worlds are both suffering because of it. It's up to Charlie, his brother Jake, and their stepmom Charlotte to figure out how the tonic is being smuggled out of the nightmare world and stop it from taking over their town of Cypress Creek. It was cute, and apparently there's a third in the works.

After "All the Bright Places" I was eager to read some more Jennifer Niven. This is an adult title, apparently she's written a few starring Velva Jean, the main character. I haven't read the others, but it didn't detract from this one any, she did a good job giving enough of Velva Jean's backstory so I didn't feel too lost. World War II has just ended, and Velva Jean, a hero who flew for the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots), has been offered a chance to come to Hollywood and take a screen test. She signs with MGM and her name is changed to Kit Rogers, her hair is dyed, her backstory is changed, and she quickly finds out how things work in Tinseltown. When her good friend Barbara Fanning dies under mysterious circumstances during a house party, the studio rushes in to make it look like an accident, but Velva Jean is determined to get to the bottom of things. She begins investigating, trying to fight her way through the web of lies the studio has woven around Barbara and her life, until she finally uncovers the truth. It was good, not "All the Bright Places" good, but still pretty decent. I'll have to read more of Velva Jean's books, my library doesn't own any of the others.

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